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    EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Ahead — And Back

    As a new year beckons, new challenges — and plenty of the old ones, too — are bound to bedevil center store section managers and the consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers whose products they stock, a circumstance that makes Mintel’s predictions of CPG trends to watch in 2010 all the more indispensable.

    As a new year beckons, new challenges — and plenty of the old ones, too — are bound to bedevil center store section managers and the consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers whose products they stock, a circumstance that makes Mintel’s predictions of CPG trends to watch in 2010 all the more indispensable. Whether it’s knowing what type of packaging is likely to fly off shelves, or which flavors and fragrances shoppers will clamor for, retailers and CPG companies alike will benefit by being able to anticipate consumer needs. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.

    In other notable recent news, a study by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Sales Agency Committee and the Association of Sales and Marketing Companies (ASMC) Foundation, conducted by Bain & Co., has found that nearly two-thirds of CPG manufacturers that outsourced retail sales activities from internal teams to sales and marketing agencies (SMAs) subsequently experienced a positive effect on selling costs [m] which should encourage more companies to take this step in the coming year and beyond.

    But before we confront the future, there’s still the 2009 winter holiday season to enjoy (although some Scrooges might say “endure”). Pepperidge Farm has truly entered into the festive spirit with its program encouraging consumers to build their own cookie houses and share baking reminiscences online, while entering participants in a contest to win a gift card they can use toward improving their real houses. This perfect dovetailing of brand, occasion and the idea of home is further bolstered by Pepperidge Farm’s generous donation to house-building ministry Habitat for Humanity. After all, taking the time to be with those important to us is the essence of any successful celebration. Pepperidge Farm gets that, and others with an interest in center store should be mindful of it as well. Of course, selling more cookies in the process of reminding people to create special memories with their families and friends is fine, too.

    Happy holidays to all!

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